Everything takes longer. Sick. Feeling it slink in after the giddy feeling of dodging it over breakfast…boiled casava and plaintains in sardine sauce that gagged me just so after a few bites. But I spit it out and smiled smugly believing triumph over heaving. But the day marched on. Longer than usual. And the feeling of not-quite-rightness marched over me too.

An hour. Two. Later…and the need to sit outside with my head on my knees overtook me. And when that didn’t settle the raging in my belly, then I knew it was time to start the trek home because everything takes longer.

So I walked purposefully from the catholic compound. Not my usual quick step so much faster than everyone around me. I walked deliberately through the gates and down the dusty road. I ignored the voice I heard trying to get my attention. Tired and uneasy about the impending drive home I walked on, hearing his persistent voice get closer as his steps quickened to catch me.

Casimir smiled at me and began to explain how he knew me. It would be a few minutes before I recalled him but he looked familiar enough and I was determined to reach transportation so I didn’t balk as he walked with me.

He talked mostly, while my mind wondered about the eight mile drive in a dilapidated taxi with too many people squished in it. Finally to the taxi rank, conversation had moved to his French (he’s from cameroon), my desire to learn, and his willingness to teach me. An exchange of numbers and my bent posture finally seemed to convey that I really really really didn’t feel well so we parted ways.

I bought bread, which after a small bite I realized would be safer to eat once I was home and stationary, and walked to my taxi weary about what I’d find. Travel gods were benevolent. I got the front seat – for once alone in it – and we began moving within a few minutes. Thankfully the window was down and the breeze felt good against my face.

At the Bong County immigration stop we paused – as all taxis do – for at the roped “gate”. The driver – as all taxi drivers do – threw a 5LD note out the window and the cluster of t-shirted “agents” continued to lounge, one lowering the rope to let us pass.

The wind still blowing I dared to ask, “what is the point of the checkpoint?”

No one could really tell me. Just that there’d always been checkpoints. Only the money exchange was new.

“if you don’t pay?” the driver responded to my question, “if you don’t pay they will detain you and waste your time.”

But they don’t stop the NGO vehicles or any official vehicles with emblems painted on their sides. The demand is only on profit making ventures, an informal tax of sorts. The man behind me chuckled at my questions, “I don’t understand it either,” he confided.

Dropped at the junction, I steadied myself for the walk home. I chatted with a few friends and then intimated that it was time for me to go because the nausea – held at bay by the cool wind during the drive – was rising in my throat again.

A brief stop to buy a fanta and I finally collapsed on my bed. Asleep within moments, I awoke to a slightly less sick feeling, and the intense heat of closed up house baking in the afternoon sun.

4:30 and no puking yet. I hope my luck holds.

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1 Comment on long distance sick-ing

  1. Kyla says:

    The whole checkpoint ritual was pretty bizarre. I had a love/hate relationship with private vehicles because I loved that we didn’t have to stop, but I hated that everyone else did. AHH!!!

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